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Singer Abdulrasheed Bello, better known as JJC Skillz, has announced his separation from Funke Akindele, the award-winning Nollywood actress.

He made this announcement in an Instagram post on Thursday morning, admitting that their marriage has been having issues for over two years.

Bello confirmed that Akindele had asked him to leave her residence and refused to discuss the relationship with him.

He said while they “shared a lot of things together”, their marriage was beyond repair even if he has tried to “fix things”, and is now seeking ways for them to co-parent and manage their joint business.
Dear Friends and family I need to let you know that Funke and I have separated. While it lasted we shared a lot of things together and have created 2 beautiful children. The last two years have been extremely difficult for us. I know I have tried my best to fix things but I believe it is beyond repair now. 3 months ago and at Funkes insistence I moved out of the house and apart from AMVCA have not been able to get Funke to sit down in an amicable manner to discuss the future of our relationship. I’m making this announcement so that the public is clear that we both are pursuing separate lives. We still have issues that need to be addressed such as the custody and wellbeing of our children which is paramount as well as business interests which need to be disentangled but I have no doubt that these will be resolved one way or the other

Mr Abdul Bello
Speculations that the couple’s marriage was on the rocks hit the media in April.

At the time JJC Skillz took to Instagram to debunk the rumors, sharing a photo of the couple and their kids, which he captioned” “The only rock that stays steady and the only institution I know that works is marriage.”

“London is cool, but I’m missing home @funkejenifaakindele my love have loads of fun with the children. See you soon at home.”

On Father’s Day, the “Jenifa” actress shared photographs JJC took with his children with the caption, “Happy Father’s Day darling!!! Thank you so much for being a wonderful and caring father. We love you God bless you more Baba Ibeji of life!”

The couple married in May 2016.
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R. Kelly appears for a hearing at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago.

R. Kelly was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 years in prison, following the multiplatinum R&B singer’s conviction for exploiting his stardom and wealth over decades to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn federal court.

Kelly, 55, was convicted last September following a 5-1/2 week trial that amplified accusations that had dogged the singer of the Grammy-winning hit “I Believe I Can Fly” since the early 2000s.

He is among the most prominent people convicted of sexual misbehavior during the #MeToo movement against such conduct by prominent men.

Earlier on Wednesday, several women who testified against Kelly during the trial spoke about how he had promised to mentor them and help them attain stardom, only to subject them to degrading sexual treatment and physical harm. Many said the abuse led to mental health problems that persist.
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(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 26, 2019 R&B singer R. Kelly (C) arrives at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building for a hearing in Chicago, Illinois. Kelly is facing several counts of aggravated sexual abuse. – R. Kelly on September 27, 2021 was convicted of leading a decades-long sex crime ring, with a New York jury finding the superstar singer guilty on all nine charges, including racketeering. (Photo by SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

A US federal judge on Wednesday was set to sentence disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly nearly a year after he was convicted of leading a decades-long effort to recruit and trap teenagers and women for sex.

Prosecutors have urged the court to put the “I Believe I Can Fly” artist behind bars for at least 25 years, saying he still “poses a serious danger to the public.”

In September, a jury in Brooklyn federal court found the fallen superstar guilty on all nine charges he faced, including the most serious of racketeering.

“His actions were brazen, manipulative, controlling and coercive. He has shown no remorse or respect for the law,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

“A lengthy sentence of imprisonment will serve to deter others — including those with wealth, fame and the outsized power such status brings — from engaging in similar crimes,” they added.

The legal team representing the 55-year-old Kelly, who is currently incarcerated in Brooklyn awaiting his fate, have urged a lighter sentence with a maximum of approximately 17 years.

Jury selection in Kelly’s separate, long-delayed federal trial in Chicago is meanwhile scheduled to begin August 15.

In that case, Kelly and two of his former associates are alleged to have rigged the singer’s 2008 pornography trial and hid years of sexual abuse of minors.

The musician who once dominated R&B also faces prosecution in two other state jurisdictions.

– #MeToo milestone –

Kelly’s conviction in New York was widely seen as a milestone for the #MeToo movement: it was the first major sex abuse trial where the majority of accusers were Black women.

It was also the first time Kelly faced criminal consequences for the abuse he for decades was rumored to have inflicted on women and children.

Prosecutors were tasked with proving Kelly guilty of racketeering, a federal charge commonly associated with organized crime syndicates that depicted Kelly as the boss of an enterprise of associates who facilitated his abuse.

Calling 45 witnesses including 11 alleged victims to the stand, they painstakingly presented a pattern of crimes they say the artist born Robert Sylvester Kelly carried out for years with impunity, capitalizing on his fame to prey on the less powerful.

To convict Kelly of racketeering, jurors had to find him guilty of at least two of 14 “predicate acts” — the crimes elemental to the wider pattern of illegal wrongdoing.

Lurid testimony intended to prove those acts included accusations of rape, druggings, imprisonment and child pornography.

His accusers described events that often mirrored one another: many of the alleged victims said they had met the singer at concerts or mall performances and were then handed slips of paper with Kelly’s contact details by members of his entourage.

Several said they were told he could bolster their music industry aspirations.

But prosecutors argued all were instead “indoctrinated” into Kelly’s world — groomed for sex at his whim and kept in line by “coercive means of control,” including isolation and cruel disciplinary measures, recordings of which were played for the jury.

Core to the state’s case was Kelly’s relationship with the late singer Aaliyah.

Kelly wrote and produced her first album — “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number” — before illegally marrying her when she was just 15 because he feared he had impregnated her.

His former manager admitted in court to bribing a worker to obtain fake identification allowing the union, which was later annulled.
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Veteran Nollywood actor, Taiwo Hassan, more commonly known as Ogogo, has said he was only defending himself after a video of him engaging in a public brawl with some hoodlums went viral.

Ogogo who took to his Instagram handle on Friday said the incident occurred during his visit to his hometown in Ilaro, Ogun State.

According to him, he was in Ilaro to inspect a project when some unknown guys walked up to him and demanded money. He said after giving them all he had on him, one of them dragged him by his “agbada” demanding a greater amount.

He said chaos ensued after the young man refused to let him go despite his pleas.

He wrote, “Before bloggers pick this up, let me tell my side of the story and the truth. I was in Ilaro, my hometown, for an inspection of a project, after which some unknown guys walked up to me for the normal appraisals.

“We watch your movie. Give us money. We watched you all through our childhood. All these as an actor, we hear every day. I offered all I had on me and one of them dragged me by my agbada and demanded an amount I couldn’t pay.

“I asked him to leave me and he said, “Do your worse” the rest is a story. Please stop harassing actors or entertainers; do you pay anyone for doing your job? No it’s our job too. Accept all we offer when we do. Remember, once a boxer always a boxer."
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Habeeb Okikiola, a.k.a, Portable

The Ogun State Police Command on Tuesday insisted that popular musician Habeeb Okikiola, a.k.a, Portable, must report himself at the nearest police station or face arrest.

Speaking with Channels Television, the Ogun State Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said Wednesday is the deadline, failure at which the police will go all out for him.

The musician was declared wanted on Monday after a video clip circulating on social media showed Portable organising some youths to beat up a young man and inflict bodily injury.

The incident was said to have taken place somewhere ilogbo area of Ogun State last week.

“Such unruly and violent behavior is not only barbaric, but unbecoming of somebody who supposed to be a role model for the youths and therefore should not be tolerated,” the police said in a statement on Monday.

“In view of this, the Command is using this medium to advise Okikiola Habeeb a.k.a Portable to report himself at the nearest police station in Ogun State, failure of which his arrest will be ordered.

“The flagrant display of impunity by portable in the viral video is condemnable and if not checked, it will send a wrong signal to the youths who are looking up to him as a role model.

“Jungle justice has no place in our laws and whoever embarked on it must be made to feel the weight of the law, no matter the status of such person.”
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Ukraine can and should host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday, after the organisers said they were in talks to hold it in Britain instead due to the war.

While decades-long tradition dictates that the winner of the contest gets to host it the following year, organisers said the security guarantees required to hold the competition in Ukraine meant discussions would be held with the runner up, Britain.

“Of course I would love it to be in this country but the fact is they won and they deserve to have it and I believe they can have it and I believe that they should have it,” Johnson told reporters on arrival back in Britain after a visit to Kyiv.

“I believe that Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it,” he added. “It is a year away, it is going to be fine by the time the Eurovision Song Contest comes round and I hope the Ukrainians get it.”

The comments by organiser the European Broadcasting Union on Friday that it was in discussions with British broadcaster the BBC to host the next event was greeted with disappointment in Kyiv, which demanded further negotiations.
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Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine pose after winning the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, May 15, 2022. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

The Eurovision Song Contest is likely to be held in Britain in 2023 as the organisers deem it too risky for this year’s winners Ukraine to host it due to the war, drawing immediate disappointment from Kyiv.

While decades-long tradition dictates that the winner of the contest gets to host it the following year, organisers said the security guarantees required to hold the competition meant discussions would be held with the runner up, Britain.

Ukraine was not happy with the decision, with Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, on Telegram, demanding more negotiations “because we believe that we will be able to fulfil all the commitments we have made”.

Britain’s entry to the contest last month in Turin, “SPACE MAN” by British singer-songwriter Sam Ryder, came second behind Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra after a string of lowly finishes.

The group rode a wave of public support to claim an emotional victory with “Stefania” that was welcomed by the country’s president.

Organiser the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it was in discussions with British broadcaster the BBC to host the next event.

“The EBU … share their sadness and disappointment that next year’s contest cannot be held in Ukraine,” the Eurovision Song Contest said.

“It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows.”

The event normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million.

“We would be committed to ensuring that it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was visiting Kyiv on Friday, said.

The BBC said: “Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want … we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”

The last time Britain hosted the annual competition was in 1998 when it was held in Birmingham after British rock band Katrina and the Waves’ song “Love Shine a Light” won the year before.

REUTERS
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US singer Mariah Carey speaks onstage during the Songwriters Hall of Fame 51st Annual Induction and Awards Gala in New York on June 16, 2022. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

Mariah Carey sparkled Thursday as her peers inducted the beloved diva into the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame, part of a class that also includes Pharrell, Steve Miller and the Isley Brothers.

This edition of the gala that honors the composers behind pop culture’s most indelible hits was years in the making, after the 51st annual edition originally slated for 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A true industry award and who’s who of music, the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala foregoes a televised event in favor of a festive dinner and intimate concert.

But even without a broadcast, the Manhattan ballroom was glowing with star power, not least thanks to Carey, who strutted the stage in a glittering, curve-hugging gown as she accepted the coveted honor.

Carey — whose songwriting talent has long been overshadowed by her elastic vocal range and pop star image — doubled as the night’s stand-up comedian, making light of her own reputation as high-maintenance, at one point donning sunglasses to make a point about the less than ideal lighting.

But she struck a more earnest note in celebrating her fellow inductees and songwriters more broadly, calling them “unsung heroes.”

For artist Jimmy Jam, who along with Terry Lewis produced a slew of massive hits including for Janet Jackson, Carey is among an elite class of songwriters whose work is timeless.

“There’s nobody that’s more savvy than her, that works harder, that knows all the intricacies of writing and is passionate about it,” he told AFP on the red carpet.

Carey chose self-taught singing prodigy Liamani Segura to perform at the ceremony in her honor, and the 13-year-old led the crowd through a medley of the Long Island-born singer’s smashes including “Fantasy,” “One Sweet Day” and, of course, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

Earlier in the night, inductee Miller shredded through his space dream of a hit “Fly Like An Eagle,” after being inducted by his friend, the actor Bryan Cranston.

“It’s really the highest honor — the most intellectual honor,” Miller, 78, told AFP on the red carpet of entering the songwriting pantheon. “It means the most to me.”

– ‘Sense of direction’ –

Miller’s performance followed a showstopper of an opening from St. Vincent, who inducted the Eurythmics — the duo comprised of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart — after delivering a spot-on version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” that had Lil Nas X on his feet, a shock of blond curls bobbing atop his pale pink suit.

Lil Nas X accepted a special honor for gifted young songwriters on the night that also celebrated the songwriting talents of Rick Nowels, the songwriter behind megahits including Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” along with “Heaven Is a Place On Earth” and “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle.

Motown icon Smokey Robinson lit up the room with a set honoring Mickey Stevenson, whose success includes the classic “Dancing In The Street.”

And Usher joined artist of the moment Jon Batiste in celebrating The Neptunes — the duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo —  taking the audience through a hip-swaying medley of hits they wrote and produced including Usher’s “U Don’t Have To Call.”

The ever-luminous Pharrell, wearing a showstopping cherry red leather suit, gave a lengthy ode to songwriting and advised young writers to push forward: “When that sparkle hits you feel it in your bone, you feel it in your body… you feel this sense of direction.”

Earlier in the night, he told AFP it felt “surreal” to accept the accolade.

This year’s gala comes at a time that the songwriting and publishing side of the music business that’s oft-overlooked is experiencing roaring success, with catalogs seen as coveted assets for investors.

Jody Gerson, the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing — which in recent years has acquired catalogs including those of Neil Diamond and Sting — accepted the night’s publishing honor, and praised the songwriters that make her work possible.

And Paul Williams — the songwriting legend behind hits like “Rainy Days and Mondays” from The Carpenters as well as the Muppet classic “Rainbow Connection” — hailed songwriting’s ability to connect.

“People respond to what we create, and that’s the biggest prize of all,” he said in accepting the night’s highest honor, a lifetime achievement prize of sorts for songwriters already inducted. “We feel a little less alone in this world, while sharing a stack of vulnerabilities and dreams and self-doubt.”

“Endless love songs — I mean I write co-dependent anthems, I’m sorry,” he quipped. “‘I won’t last a day without you’ is not a healthy thought — I’ve done some therapy.”

But jokes aside, Williams was unequivocal in emphasizing the importance of his fellow lyricists: “My God, we never needed your songs more than right now.”

REUTERS
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Justin Bieber has been battling a serious virus, one that has left the right side of his face paralyzed ... and he'll need to take some time off to work on getting better.

The singer posted a video Friday explaining to fans why he's had to postpone several shows over the last week, explaining he's been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Bieber says it's affected a nerve in his ear, causing the paralysis.

As visible in the video, Justin is unable to blink with one of his eyes, and can only smile with one side of his mouth.

While JB apologizes to fans for having to have missed the recent shows, he says the whole thing is "pretty serious" and that he'll need to take an undetermined amount of time off to work on getting healthy.

He says he's been doing facial exercises, and that with work, everything will get back to normal -- it's just not clear how long that'll take.

Justin's Justice World Tour kicked off back in February, and hit a slight bump when he and Hailey Bieber both got COVID.
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The Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a suit seeking to set aside the conviction of popular Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello popularly known as JJC Skillz and 236 others, who were prosecuted for violating the state’s lockdown in 2020.

Justice Akintayo Aluko held that the suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action and was also incompetent.

Akindele and her husband were convicted on April 6, 2020, by the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Ogba, days after they held a crowded house birthday party contrary to Lagos State’s social distancing order.

But a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, approached the court, challenging the constitutionality of the Lagos State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 pursuant to which Akindele, her husband, and 236 other residents were convicted and sentenced.

Joint respondents in the suit are the Lagos State Government, Attorney-General of Lagos State, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Inspector-General of Police.

Ogungbeje also sought, among others, an order compelling the Respondents jointly and severally to tender a public apology in three widely read newspaper publications to other persons/Nigerians arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted and sentenced.

But the Lagos State Government and the AG opposed the move through their counsel, a Deputy Director, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Adebayo Haroun.

They filed a notice of preliminary objection against the suit on July 10, 2020.

According to them, Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, 2004 allows the governor to make the regulations where the President of Nigeria had not made such regulations.

They contended that the Regulation was made for public safety, public good, and protection which is larger and far greater than that of an individual such as the Applicant.

In his judgment delivered on June 2, 2022, a copy of which was obtained by Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele on Friday, the court agreed in part with the government.

Justice Aluko observed that the regulations disclosed in its preamble that the governor made the regulations by virtue of the powers conferred on him by the Lagos State Public Health Law of Lagos State, 2015 and in particular section 8 of the Quarantine Act and that Sections 8 provides that if regulations under section 4 of the Act was not made by the President, power to make such regulations may be exercised by the governor in respect of his state.

The judge held: “This means that the regulations made by the governor on the 27/3/2020 is valid within the context of section 8 of the Quarantine Act having been made at a time when the president had not made his own regulations. The Lagos State Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention) Regulations, 2020 is therefore subsidiary legislation validly made pursuant to section 8 of the Quarantine Act.

“Contrary to the argument of the Applicant, section 17 of the Regulations actually created certain offences ranging from failure to comply with a restriction order, prohibition, or doing anything contrary to the provisions of the Regulations.

Section 17 (2) of the Regulations provides that any person who contravenes the provisions of the Regulations shall be liable under the Quarantine Act, Public Health Law of the State, and any other existing law to fine or imprisonment or both in accordance with the extant laws.

“It is of note that section 5 of the Quarantine Act provides for penalties or punishment against any person who contravenes provisions of the regulations made under the Act.”

While commending Ogungbeje for “seeking to protect citizens’ rights from violations”, the judge noted that the suit had “no support of the law.” Justice Aluko added: “In total, I hold that this suit has disclosed no reasonable cause of action against the Respondents.

“The instant suit is incompetent and the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate over same.

“Accordingly, this suit is hereby struck out for those reasons.”